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on September 13, 2013
Tip: Use Firefox instead of Chrome in QHD+. You'll thank me.

After spending a few days with the laptop with Windows 8.1, here's my complete review of this excellent premium ultrabook.


+ The screen is very sharp and bright. Adaptive brightness (light sensor) is enabled by default, but can be easily turned off in Samsung Settings (FN+F1). At full brightness, it is quite bright (and power-hogging). I have mine set at about 60% and that's plenty good in well-lit places. Wide viewing angle as well. However, beware of reflections on glossy screen.
+ QHD+ resolution is the main reason why I (and other resolution-) made this purchase. And it does not disappoint. Text are crisp and easy on the eyes. Perfect for catching up on tech news and typing up that long-overdued document.
+ Super sexy design. It's nothing new. Same as the Series 9, but don't fix what isn't broken, or brilliant in this case. I did a side by side comparison with a 13" Macbook Air. The AB9+ is seemingly thinner, and obviously smaller (thanks to a smaller bezel). Much love for Samsung in this department. Build quality is also very good. This ultrabook just screams "premium".
+ Very light. I can easily pick it up with one hand.
+ The hinge is a nice touch. It locks in at your preferred viewing angle, then opens up flat. Useful, but not really for me. Nice to have that option though.
+ Keypad is decent-sized and has a nice spring to it. Again, terrific job by Samsung. However, I did notice that keys don't register sometimes, but that's most likely my fleeting typing style. Will have to adjust, no big deal.
+ Dual fans are almost silent.
+ Touchscreen is as responsive as any tablet.
+ The specs may not satisfy all power users, but 4GB and 128GB SSD are more than enough for a photographer (like myself). Had no trouble installing Photoshop CC. Loaded up quickly as well and although it doesn't give the same performance as a desktop with a dedicated graphic card, I was still able to do all the things I usually do smoothly. The high resolution display is gorgeous here.



+ Scaling issues. Biggest issue I have with this ultrabook. But it's not Samsung's fault, nor is it entirely Microsoft's. After installing Windows 8.1 and switching from the default 1080p to the QHD+ resolution, the problem became clear that it's up to developers to make their programs high-res ready. Mobile devs had to do it when Apple introduced the first high-res iPhone. Mac devs had to do it when the high-res Macbook came out. It's just a matter of time. Until then, we will have to deal with tiny text in unoptimized software (I'm looking at you, Adobe). However, optimized software running on this QHD+ display is just wonderful.
+ Battery life is good, not great. Samsung listed a 7-8hour battery life, and I do get that much out of each full charge (at 60-70% brightness and casual usage). However, when you compare it to the Air's 11-hour battery life, it's just ok. This is mainly due to the QHD+ display and OSX being a more power-efficient operation system. Can't blame Samsung.
+ Integrated graphics chipset. Good for the most part. I can decode 1080p x264 and run Photoshop, but don't expect to be able to play the latest games with a smooth framerate.
+ Screen is not matte. I understand that this is because of the touchscreen, but I would've liked a matte screen.
+ Fingerprint-magnet, this is. Good thing I always carry a microfiber cloth. Without it, the laptop would look like a battlefield after an hour.
+ After a few days, I noticed a very slight spot (to the right of trackpad) that flexes a tiny tiny bit. Not sure if it has always been like that or just happened. But it can't be unnoticed now! Bummer. (update: not the laptop flexing but just uneven rubber legs. odd)
+ A little expensive when compared to the competition, but... Samsung.

So, am I keeping this marvelous piece of hardware plagued by slightly shoddy software? Of course. Most of the people I've talked to see the 4GB and 128GB SSD as dealbreakers. I'm sure they know what's best for themselves. But I also know what I need, and this is perfectly fine. Samsung have created a wonderful ultrabook that's just as good as anything available right now in the market (including Apple products). The light weight and slim form make it a perfect traveling companion, or just a great notebook to carry around all day. And again, scaling issues are entirely dependent on Microsoft/devs and nothing Samsung can do (afaik). I have excellent eyesight though ;P

Four and a half stars!

* Full disclosure. I got this laptop for $1200 via Amazon early pre-order.
** I'm using this case. It's slim and cheap. Does the job. EasyAcc 13.3 inch Laptop Ultrabook Envelope Case Sleeve Leather Carrying Case Bag Accessories for Apple Macbook Air 13, Macbook Pro Retina, Acer Aspire S3, S5, S7, Asus Zenbook UX31, HP spectre xt 13.3, Samsung SERIES 9 NP900X3B, Samsung SERIES 5 NP530,...
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on September 19, 2013
After multiple shipping delays (which I believe were Samsung's fault...not Amazon's), I finally received my ATIV Book 9 Plus earlier this week. Originally chosen (after its announcement in June) as my new laptop for grad school, it was frustrating to wait so long into the school year for its release and eventual shipment. After a few days with the device, the delays make a little more sense. The software (*cough* Windows 8 *cough*) isn't quite ready for this laptop.

Right out of the box, the construction of this laptop can be described as "impressive." The matte finish on the body of the laptop is warmer and smoother feeling than the computer's Apple counterpart. The lid opens easily with one hand and settles right back into the comfort zone Samsung bragged about. Lifting it off the coffee table with one hand pinching the corner, there's no sign of bending or wobbling. Its weight and solid construction will be perfect for throwing into both briefcase and backpack. It is the level of quality you would expect from a laptop at this price point.

As for the keyboard, the size and placement of the keys are comfortable enough, but the chiclets themselves are unevenly weighted. Borderline wobbly. They're also made of a fingerprint-loving, grease-collecting, and overall cheap feeling plastic. The trackpad, on the other hand, is very solid and smooth and pleasant to work with. I'm not a huge fan of the default right-click on the bottom right portion of the track pad, but I'll either get used to it or figure out how to disable it in favor of the two-finger click.
The screen is easily the best I've ever seen on a laptop. The picture quality is just as described in the other online reviews, and is especially impressive next to my MacBook Air. The glare can be irritating, but it doesn't interfere with everyday use. The touch panel is responsive, and makes me wonder how people used Windows 8 on a non-touch laptop.

That brings me to my biggest gripe...Windows 8, and its failed interaction with this wonderful piece of hardware. There are multiple high-resolution laptops on their way to the market, and it's clear to me now why the other manufacturers have chosen to hold off on their release. I spent one day using the laptop with its original Windows 8 installation and found that, aside from the preinstalled software, nothing ran with a comfortable level of scaling. Chrome, Evernote, Microsoft Office 365, and even some webpages within IE11 failed to render in a usable fashion. Installing the 8.1 preview helped with a lot of the issues, but I continue to have problems with pieces of software, or elements within a program, requiring me to lean forward and squint. I have perfect vision, but feel like my like a little old man hunched over in front of this laptop trying to take notes in class.

The Haswell processor inside was actually my primary reason for choosing this laptop. The i5 chip, along with the 4GB of RAM I'm stuck with (literally...they're soldered in there) have no problem completing every task I throw at it. During class I have my Evernote, Chrome (2-3 tabs), Word, and Excel open and active the entire time. With lots of Alt-Tabs and several screen swipes, I keep this laptop active and engaged for my entire 3-hour class without a single stutter. Even some of the macros that bog down laptops around me, snap through their various stages with lightning speed.

As for battery life: in addition to my 3-hour class in the evening, there's the one hour of Facebook, Google News, and gadget blogs in the morning, the one hour of lunch/homework in the afternoon, and then two hours of procrastinated school work in the evening before class. I don't keep the brightness cranked (probably 60%) and I'm always connected to Wi-Fi. All 3 days, I've managed to easily get 7 hours of solid use out of the laptop with 10-15% left to spare. I feel like that's a satisfying amount of battery life, and gives me one less thing to worry about.

I wish I could say I was completely happy with this purchase. It's a very impressive piece of hardware, but the short-comings of Windows 8 have robbed me of the satisfaction I think I should feel after having waited this long and spent the kind of money I did. At this point, I'm stuck waiting for various software improvements, which isn't a very thrilling feeling.
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on August 14, 2014
The display on this thing is fantastic and the dimensions are excellent. It's very slim and lightweight. Sadly though, I haven't even used it twelve hours and I've already had to get the packaging slip to return it. I've had 3 major problems already. The first thing I noticed when I turned it on, was every page or program with a white background flickers when I use it. Plus, the SD card reader doesn't work. Every few minutes it disconnects the SD car automatically and then reconnects it a second later. This is tremendously inconvenient if you try to view any sort of media that's on an SD card. Finally, the icing on the cake was the wireless card. For some reason, the internet randomly disconnected and the laptop no longer could find any of the 2 internet connections available in my house during my last session of using this product. I tried everything I could think of to solve the problem and nothing worked. I called Samsung and they told me the only way I could fix it was if I connected my laptop to the internet. Well that's great but I shouldn't have to go out and buy an ethernet cable just to fix the faulty product they made.

Bottom line: I would not recommend this product.
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on November 26, 2015
Horrible experience. Paid around $1200 on this, seeking a high-end product and it completely failed to meet any expectations whatsoever. It simply stopped working with less than one year after my purchase, as the screen has started to show colored lines and I was unable to work with it ever again. Tech support here in Brazil simply says it is a motherboard problem and refuses to replace the computer as it is an imported part and hence too expensive. I am suing Samsung for this, and I will never again buy a Samsung laptop.
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on September 4, 2016
Purchased as a going-to-college present for son of a friend. First unit was defective and returned. The replacement unit has outlasted its warranty in the hands of a college student - what higher praise! I'm not personally much into laptops [yet], but the screen image on these Samsungs is just awesome. When I first saw how thin these units are, I bet the giftee that within 6 months (1) he'd bend and break it, or (2) it's so cool looking that it would be stolen. I lost the bet. If I ever buy something ;like these for myself, I'll start here are the standard for comparison.
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on June 22, 2014
Great little computer for the first two months, but the micro HDMI port is already breaking. Have to wiggle it around to get a feed, only a matter of time before it breaks completely, and of course it's outside the 30 day return date. Seems like shoddy manufacturing to me.
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on June 28, 2015
I did a ton of research before buying this computer, which is probably why I feel so bad buying it thinking I had done my homework and I was so wrong. Everyone told me to switch to Apple but I felt very robotic when you step in a coffee shop and see everyone working solo on their apple or starring at the screen and they all look the same. So I figured I am going to look for a sleek computer that is great on performance and look.

Let me just say, this machine is like a bad bad relationship experience. Its good looking but such a huge disappointment and for the price, a massive let down..
I had a rather ok experience with a cheaper uglier previous Samsung laptop, so I figured I stay loyal and really splash out to buy something of the same brand but much nicer. So I coughed up 1100$ on this piece of garbage and boy Do I REGRET IT. As soon as I got it, I knew something was off. The machine was SLOW as a 500 year old turtle and believe me my older $400 Samsung out performed this one. As a good loyal and patient person, I figured it must be my internet connection. But the bottom line was when everyone with their cheapo Dell was hooking on and I was stuck on my good looking but terrible machine.
And then It was down hill from there. So since I still had the warranty for one year, I called what I consider the worst experience in customer service. 15 calls later and me chasing them to fix this piece of garbage and finally they agreed to have it be sent for repair. Once it arrived back, it worked well again for a few days and consistently slowed down again. Now 4 days after my warranty ran out, I get a message that the screen driver has crashed twice a day. I stopped using this garbage and already in a market for another laptop. Do not waste your money or fall for the looks.

SAMSUNG COSTUMER SERVICE: TEEEERRRRIBBBBLE. I would never buy another Samsung product.
I wasted
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on July 24, 2015
A month after purchasing this, it began freezing. Not sure what the cause is. Perhaps the 4GB RAM? I dunno. &, as others have mentioned, I feel really bad for having purchased this because I researched it on Consumer Reports & it's rated highly.

I bought a Lenovo laptop 3 or 4 years ago that outperforms this. Way too much money for subpar performance.

&, as others have mentioned, the Samsung customer service is DEPLORABLE!

NEVER again am I gonna purchase a Samsung product. NEVER.
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on September 10, 2014
This computer is very fast, which I appreciate. The super-fast start-up time is especially nice, considering how often I have to shut down or re-start the computer in order to get the touchpad to work properly. Others have already complained about the touchpad drivers, so I won't dwell on it, but this does reflect poorly on Samsung. I've been in touch with tech support, and they weren't especially helpful. They said that they updated some drivers, but the problem persists.

Inexcusable in a laptop that costs this much.
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on May 31, 2015
I had some serious issues with the trackpad from day 1 that resulted in my having to send this computer back to Samsung. However, now that the issue has been resolved this is a great computer. I only mention this because when I was trying to find a solution to the problem, it seemed to be a very common problem with this computer.
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